It may be as big as a modest-sized house, but likely your double wide's manufactured or prefabricated features keep it from looking like one. By making some improvements inside and out, it can look more like a stick-built home than a budget-wise, factory-built dwelling.
Up the Walls' Appeal
A couple of common double-wide tell-tale signs are the paneled walls with strips or battens that cover the seams, and its narrow trim throughout -- the baseboards, window and door moldings and ceiling trim.
For a more house-like finish:
- Remove the battens
- Remove the trim
- Hang drywall over the paneling
- Finish with wide or ornate trim and crown molding
As an alternative to hanging drywall, lightly sand, prime and paint the paneling a pale neutral shade, working the strips into the design as contrasting-colored stripes, if desired; or, remove the battens and finish the seams with drywall mud before painting the walls.
Give Ceilings Some Substance
A double wide's typical ceiling with tiles or boards that run to the plastic center spline -- the cover that hides the seam where the 2-part unit comes together -- hints at prefabricated construction. Again, drywall provides a convincing house-like finish. Alternatively, you may be able to remove the spline and run lightweight, 1-inch tongue-and-groove pine lumber perpendicular to the joists, for stability, providing a cottage or ranch-home effect. Painting the pine white offers a modern detail compared to what's underneath.
Depending on snow-load and structural building codes for manufactured homes in your area, you may not be able to install drywall or other heavy materials on the walls and ceiling for safety reasons; obtain information and any permits from your city or county's planning department.
Replace Cabinets and Built-Ins
Double-wide homes often come with built-in furniture, from bookcases and hutches to dressers. Also, kitchen and bathroom cabinets tend to be low-grade, and shallow aluminum windows cheapen the atmosphere. Decorate the home with attractive furniture, and renovate with quality cabinetry, closet doors, fixtures and wood or vinyl windows to help disguise the home's prefabricated beginnings.
Improve the Exterior
Even if you modify or upgrade your double wide's interior, its exterior will undo your efforts, unless you make a few changes to it. Remove old shutters and aluminum siding in favor of vinyl or wood siding, for instance. Use faux stone or brick veneer around the entryway and in place of any plywood skirting, if the home isn't on a foundation. Landscape a plain grass lot with evergreen shrubbery, shade trees, rock gardens and a water feature for curb appeal from the street, to improve the view from inside, and for your own enjoyment when lounging or strolling outdoors.
In a mobile-home park, check the contract for landscaping, renovation or remodeling restrictions before planning any upgrades.